Hiring during COVID

Staff are an organisation’s most valuable asset in navigating short-term disruption and achieving long-term growth. In the current climate every workplace will need to adapt their workforce structure in order to efficiently meet current needs and, in all likelihood, reduce overheads

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Robert Half

Here are some key considerations regarding recruitment options during COVID-19:

Permanent employees


Tap into the total employment market: organisations will always endeavour to retain their top talent, which means that the best candidates for your vacant roles are often those currently employed elsewhere. In a tumultuous market, employees value job security and are less likely to change roles for a temporary or contract offer. This makes the offer of a permanent contract one of the most effective human resources hiring strategies in terms of gaining access to a wider talent pool.

Keep excellence in-house: recruiting existing contract or temporary workers to permanent positions is an excellent method for keeping invaluable skills, relationships or knowledge within the organisation. Permanent roles are particularly important for those in people management positions, as a turnover in leadership can negatively affect organisation  continuity and stability.


Resource-intensive investment: while a top-performing permanent employee is an invaluable asset to an organisation, it is worth considering if offering a full-time contract is the best option as these are generally more long-term in nature, require more resources and training and are a less flexible option than other comparable human resources hiring strategies.

Bad long-term fit: in times of crisis it can be tempting to base hiring decisions on short-term priorities. However, prioritising an applicant’s technical skillset, or short-term value, over their cultural fit can result in an unsatisfactory relationship that will be a drain on morale and productivity in the long-term.

Fixed-term contractors


Access to niche skills: fixed-term contractors provide access to specialised skills that can assist with organisation-critical projects – such as implementing cloud computing services. They often require technical skills that are of value to the project at hand, making a short-term contract one of the most cost-effective recruitment options in this type of scenario.

Defined commitment: the niche skillset that a contract role typically targets often command above-market salaries. By establishing a defined duration, required deliverables and fee, a fixed-term contract can be designed to fit within any budgetary constraints a organisation may have in place, while ensuring no additional expense once the critical organisation  need is met.

Highly adaptable to new environments: experienced fixed term contractors are familiar with immersing themselves in new environments, and delivering value and outcomes, with minimal lead or orientation time.


Access to benefits: depending on the organisation and employer contract, full-time contractors can get access to certain organisational benefits, including paid sick and annual leave.

Less organisational loyalty: temporary employees may not have the same level of loyalty and dedication towards your organisation as a tenured, permanent employee. In a less favourable employment market, they might also be on the lookout for a permanent contract and may jump ship as soon as they have secured one.

Lack of in-house knowledge: when fixed-term contractors finish their project, or organisational  initiative, they often take the legacy knowledge with them. It is, therefore, important that organisations make sure they spend sufficient time on transferring that knowledge to the permanent staff before the srtaff member moves on

Temporary employees


Maximum flexibility: many organisations do not have a clear outlook on their mid and long-term staffing needs, and would benefit from human resources hiring strategies which make use of temporary staffing options as, in these cases, they are not required to provide an end-date to the employee and can cancel the temporary contract with no notice period to be served.

Aid organisation continuity: temporary employees can provide immediate assistance to an organisation, meeting surges in demand and filling short-term gaps without overburdening other team members. They help sustain productivity and drive organisational continuity at a time of disruption.

Cost effective: as many organisations face budgetary constraints, temporary employees offer the flexibility to quickly scale up or down, based on evolving organisational  needs, without having to add a permanent employee to the company’s payroll. Those making appointments for small organisations could make good use of this approach.

Hit the ground running: professionals who have experience in short-term assignments are familiar with operating in – sometimes stressful – new environments and industries, making them well-positioned to ‘hit the ground running’.


Highly competitive salary: within the temporary talent pool there are many who possess in-demand, niche skillsets; these highly experienced experts, who are generally challenging to find, can, typically, command above-average day rates that are higher than their peers who possess a broader skillset.

Less organisational loyalty: temporary employees may not have the same level of loyalty and dedication towards your organisation as a tenured, permanent employee. In a less favourable employment market, they might also be on the lookout for a permanent contract and may jump ship as soon as they have secured one.

Lack of organisation knowledge: while temporary employees may possess valuable technical skills, they are often not in a position to bring the institutional knowledge required for certain unique organisational circumstances.

A mixed staffing solution

All recruitment options have their pros and cons, so having a flexible approach allows organisations to build an agile team, that is responsive to changing conditions, without compromising on the required institutional knowledge and organisation-critical skills that will support the organisation through COVID-19 and beyond.

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